For the Love of Pictorialism and Impressionism

Date: 02/09/04-07:46:33 AM Z
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In a message dated 08/02/04 11:29:44 GMT Standard Time, writes:

> >>> BTW, I would ve very interested in following a
> >>> "Pictorialism" discussion (to be enlightened on
> >>> the subject) here...
> (Hi! -newby in the house)
> John,
> Hope you don't mind me saying so, but your writing style matches the
> subject thread as I'm understanding it. I would love to see one of
> your pictures from the new handmade camera that you mentioned.

          Thanks Steve. My writing style might be considered ''pictorialist''
but my photographic style, I feel sure, would fall into the category of ''
Impressionist'' as that is what I admire most but there are distinguishing
features between these two styles which in a discussion such as this should be
clarified for those who may be concerned to find a label for what they are doing
with the photographic medium. I cannot indulge in jpegging as my box of tricks
is not powerful enough and in any case would my prints would lose much of the
texture on screen, but maybe we can come to some other arrangement....but OFF
LIST, please.

> Will you share your camera plans?

               I would be willing to share but this would be quite difficult
as the plans were formulated on the drawing board of my imagination and only
rough sketches exist on paper. I am basically a practical person. The camera
seemed to materialize over a long period ( six months). I will be making a set
of snaps showing the various parts of the thing which I could mail to you at
cost of production and postage off list, of course.
> I recently purchased "Primitive Photography" and the chemicals for paper
>negatives, as the book suggests, but your concept of a "paper negative roll
>camera" is intriguing! Are you using commercial paper? I'm also interested
> how you constructed your lenses or if you are using a modern set?

                 The book is a very good inspiration and encouragement. The
paper roll I am using is labeled ''Anitec'', is well outdated, was photo
-typsetting in use. Bought it from boot sale several years ago. 150 foot rolls 12''
wide. ( I sent an 8'' wide roll to Mr Peter Frederick of this list and
Temperaprint fame. I never heard if he ever used it.........) You can of course use
several other types of bromide paper, especially resin coated, for paper
negatives. I have also made a dark slide and attachment for using 12'' X 16''
single sheets.
The lenses will cost you very very very little compared with high tech
equipment. Search your yellow pages for optical suppliers. Two X one dioptre(1000
mm) meniscus lenses together will give you a 500 mm focus lens which stopped
down to something like f 170 , yes, one hundred and seventy, can produce
amazingly sharp images. I have to use methods of reducing the sharpness to get the
impressionist effect I want.
> As an aside, I've been studying photos that are classified on the web
> as pictorialist and trying to find some common threads besides the time
> frame they were made. I haven't read Shannon's paper yet, but I will
> shortly. Would "resembling a painting" satisfy the requirements for
> pictorialism? Subject matter seems to range from pastoral scenes like
> the one that you described to common field workers engaged in labor.
> Would the likes of Thomas Cole's paintings fall into this category?
> I'd rather think that Ansel Adams might even qualify in that case! I
> think I read on this site that the photograph must be unique and unable
> to be replicated by the same process that it was formed from in order
> to be pictorialist. I wonder if there is a "working definition" that
> would qualify?

     My humble advice would be dont worry too much about the theory and ''
working definitions''. To start with enjoy what you are doing. Pictorialist
artists did not invent the label before embarking on the creation of their work.
Well, maybe some did.......I did not!

        As another aside:- In 1995 at an exhibition at The Barbican Art
Gallery in the City of London called, ''Impressionism in Britain'' I was delighted
to find several examples of photography shown alongside paintings included for
their "Impressionist' style, genre, appearance... or whatever. The barriers
to photography as fine art had been dropped. It is significant that the first
exhibition given in 1874 by the ''Impressionists'' was in the studios of
Nadar ( Tournachon, Gaspard Felix) the French photographer, at his sumptuous
studios in Boulevard des Capucines under the title of, ''The Anonymous Society of
Artists, Painters, Sculptors and Engravers'', and brought together the works of
Monet, Pissaro, Renoir, Sisley, Cezanne, Degas and Boudin. ( info taken from
''Images.Illusion and Reality'' by Bede Morris.Australian Academy of Science.
Canberra 1986. ISBN 0 85847 131 0.
       The Barbican exhibition in 1995 included the photographers:-
James Craige Annan 1864 - 1946
Walter Benington died C 1935
Eustace Calland (?) (''The Sweet Shop'' 1902 )
Alvin Langdon Coburn 1882 - 1966
George Davison 1856 - 1930
Robert Demachy 1859 - 1936
Peter Henry Emerson 1856 - 1936
Frederick Henry Evans 1853 - 1943
Thomas Frederick Goodall 1857 - 1944
John Dudley Johnston 1868 - 1955
Frank Meadow Sutcliffe 1853 - 1941

                 There were 112 artists in all. Many of the paintings looked
like photographs and were probably painted with close reference to photos.
This is well accepted nowadays especially as digital manipulation has truly
blurred the boundaries. I especially like the ''Sweet Shop'' by Eustace Calland
which is a platinum print modified with glycerine.

                             Later. John - Photographist

Received on Mon Feb 9 07:47:19 2004

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